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Windows 7: "Downloads" folder takes minutes to load in Windows Explorer

12 Jul 2012   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
"Downloads" folder takes minutes to load in Windows Explorer

I am having trouble just viewing the "Downloads" folder in Windows Explorer It used to just be a periodic thing, now it takes literally 2-5 minutes to load this folder! (I cannot even sort it while it is loading!)

I noticed in Resource Monitor that "MsMpEng.exe" (Microsoft Security Essentials) is checking each and every file in there everytime I open it. (Hundreds of line-items in Resource Monitor.)

So something must be flagging most of these files as changed or something so that MSE is going in and re-scanning everything.

Does anyone know what causes this and how I can fix it?

Here are some [perhaps ] pertinant notes about my Downloads Folder:
  • It is very large, with almost 1,000 items. However, I want to keep it large as I have many apps running directly from the folder. (There are of course sub-folders for organization, but I find having a single download spot is good for catching things I may have already downloaded...)
  • I have it mapped from C:\Users\[USERNAME]\Downloads to D:\...\Downloads (My C: drive is an SSD so I keep this large amount of data off it.)
  • I made sure to add this to the Windows Index.\
  • The "Date Accessed" date is updated to today for about 1/3 of the files (300 or so) even though I am only really accessing no more than 3-10 per day. It does not seem to matter what type of file it is (exe, zip, etc...)
  • I added this to my "Favorites"; however, this happens regardless of if I access the folder via Favorites, [USERNAME]/Downloads, or d:\...\Downloads.
  • I generally add stuff to that folder via Google Chrome. However, I could not catch the Chrome process doing anything weird or anything when downloading something.

Here is a thread with a similar problem; however, it is not resolved: delay on folder loading

Thanks much in advance for your help! As you can imagine this is unbearable!
MikeY

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

12 Jul 2012   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

My current downloads folder has 1,000 files and in the initial access, it took about 10 seconds to display the Details list as configured/sorted. Intel i7mobile. No indexing. Subsequent closing and re-opening took about 2 seconds to display as configured/sorted. A separate folder of 50 files took 4 seconds to display in its initial access. Near-instantaneous subsequent access.

May I suggest creating subfolders to reduce the 1,000 to a more manageable 20-50? Beat your head against the wall (2-5 minutes) or an extra click or two once in a while? Which is more unbearable?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jul 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Thanks for your response: I agree with making it smaller with more sub-directories, but as a software engineer, I think my extreme case was exposing something fundamental that I either wanted to figure-out or fix.

And I am happy to say that I think I figured it out! Within that folder, I was running "Process Explorer" (Sysinternals) on Windows Startup and pretty much all the time. Figuring that MSE might be scanning all running programs (and directories its within), I moved procexp.exe to a different folder and set it to startup that version.

Once I did, MSE now lets me open up the Downloads folder without re-checking everything!

My life-lesson from this: If you are running an executable, make sure it is in a different directory from other random files, otherwise MSE will constantly check them.

Thanks again for your help!
I will update this as "solved" in a few days when I am sure it really worked and this is not a fluke.

MikeY


So how does it function if you uninstall MSE?
You can allways then reinstall it

UPDATE (2012/07/29) (SEE BELOW, NOT QUITE SOLVED. )


As expected, since excluding the "downloads" folder from MSE worked, uninstalling MSE also worked. However, I like MSE and want it to scan my downloads folder

UPDATE: I think I figured it out! Within that folder, I was running "Process Explorer" (Sysinternals) on Windows Startup and pretty much all the time. Figuring that MSE might be scanning all running programs, I moved procexp.exe to a different folder and set it to startup that version.

Once I did, MSE now lets me open up the Downloads folder without re-checking everything.

My life-lesson from this: If you are running an executable, make sure it is in a different directory from other random files, otherwise MSE will constantly check them.

Thanks for your help everyone!
I will update this as "solved" in a few days when I am sure it really worked and this is not a fluke.

MikeY

UPDATE (2012/07/29)

Sadly, I still see some issues. First off, while moving ProcessExplorer from that directory stopped it from scanning every-file, every-time I open the folder, it still scans every-tile the first time I open the directory. Only aftrer waiting for five minutes the first time can I then freely move around in that directory. Obviously this is not ideal.

I did some followup work on this:

I completely uninstalled MSE. Obviously it then worked. However, I then installed NOD32 anti-virus. Guess what? It still freezes up when opening the downloads folder! This time instead of hundreds of " MsMpEng.exe " line-items in Resource Monitor, I see hundreds of "ekrn.exe" lines! (I.e. it is doing the same thing!)

I have in fact just moved to a new Downloads folder. I found that one can abstract these kinds of folder names. (I.e. I was able to have a new folder that comes up when I select "[UserName]/Downloads." In other words, when downloading things, it appears exactly the same, I am just starting with a new directory. However, even though the library and user sub-path now point to the new folder, I did not change the absolute path to my old folders directory. That way I can preserve the countless mappings/executable shortcuts, etc within that mega-folder.

I still think I hit on something fundamental here; I hope I learn why I am causing AV systems to go hay-wire over this large number of files, especially since it should not be testing thousands of files that have not changed!

Thanks again!
MikeY
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


07 Jan 2014   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 
Potential Solution

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by myurkus View Post
Thanks for your response: I agree with making it smaller with more sub-directories, but as a software engineer, I think my extreme case was exposing something fundamental that I either wanted to figure-out or fix.

UPDATE (2012/07/29) (SEE BELOW, NOT QUITE SOLVED. )

As expected, since excluding the "downloads" folder from MSE worked, uninstalling MSE also worked. However, I like MSE and want it to scan my downloads folder

UPDATE: I think I figured it out! Within that folder, I was running "Process Explorer" (Sysinternals) on Windows Startup and pretty much all the time. Figuring that MSE might be scanning all running programs, I moved procexp.exe to a different folder and set it to startup that version.

UPDATE (2012/07/29)

Sadly, I still see some issues. First off, while moving ProcessExplorer from that directory stopped it from scanning every-file, every-time I open the folder, it still scans every-tile the first time I open the directory. Only aftrer waiting for five minutes the first time can I then freely move around in that directory. Obviously this is not ideal.

I still think I hit on something fundamental here; I hope I learn why I am causing AV systems to go hay-wire over this large number of files, especially since it should not be testing thousands of files that have not changed!

Thanks again!
MikeY
I was running into this same issue, saw this article and it confirmed that I wasn't the only one with the issue. This gave me the push to track down the solution, which I believe is this:

If you are experiencing the GBoM (Green Bar of Molasses) when opening a folder in Windows Explorer, it is likely due to the fact that Windows has decided to "optimize" that folder for Pictures or Videos, and it's trying to generate the thumbnails for every one of those files. As I'm sure you know, this could take a REALLY long time in big folders like Downloads.

You can turn this "feature" off like this:

Code:
1. In Windows Explorer, Right-Click the folder in question (ie: Downloads folder)
2. Select Properties from the pop-up menu
3. Select the "Customize" tab*
4. From the drop-down menu, Optimize this folder for: "General Items"
(*) NOTE: if the Customize tab isn't there, then you may have selected the folder from a Library or other virtual location - find the REAL version of it in the directory tree and right-click on that).

You may have to do this every once in awhile as Windows tries to "re-optimize" that folder.

Hope this helps!

-CobaltBlue
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 "Downloads" folder takes minutes to load in Windows Explorer




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